Jazz guitar help

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by Francis978, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Francis978

    Francis978 SS.org Regular

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    Hey all! I am auditioning for Berklee College of Music soon, and I am auditioning on a PRS Mikael Akerfeldt SE model, it gets sweet jazz tone in the neck position already, but I am looking for something warmer, and smoother more or less, so I need a new neck pickup

    I heard Duncan has a jazz pickup, and there is the 59 as well

    Anyone able to help me out? I know I should be on the pickups section but since this is about jazz I posted it here

    Thanks guys :D
     
  2. Sam MJ

    Sam MJ Tries to be helpful

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    Use your tone knob and tweak your amp first :), when tweaking your amp use your ears not your eyes and find a sweet spot on your tone knob not just all the way up or all the way down!
     
  3. Trespass

    Trespass AEADGBEA

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    This isn't helpful.

    Play in a group with your tone knob rolled down, and you will be buried in the mix, ridiculously muddy and if not, disgusting too loud.

    Quit parroting advice thrown around on forums.

    OP: Buy a handmade Kent Armstrong, use 12 or 13 gauge strings (preferably Pure Nickel roundwounds or flatwounds) and consider renting a decent tube amp (Fender Deluxe Reverb is pretty ubiquitous).
     
  4. ShreddingDragon

    ShreddingDragon Silence the discord

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    Sorry but that seemed just so elitist. Obviously he didn't mean you should roll down too much on the tone. Also the OP said he's using the Åkerfeldt PRS. In an audition, you'd think they look at your playing first, then your tone - I wouldn't go as far as telling someone to buy an entirely different guitar for an audition just because of sound. A handmade Kent Armstrong is probably great for jazz, but learning to use gear gives you options. That tube amp is most likely a good idea though.

    When not in a hurry, +1 for amp tweaking without looking, just using ears. Sometimes gives surprisingly good results.
     
  5. Lasik124

    Lasik124 SS.org Regular

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    Yea that's what I was thinking :scratch: . He wasn't asking for a new guitar either, just some pickup advice.

    In fact I own the same guitar, and have played a lot of jazz on it just by tweaking the Tone knobs and the amp well enough.

    As someone stated earlier, they aren't going to be to concerned with your tone at an audition like that. Usually in music schools they have you plugging into a pretty shitty amp to begin with.
     
  6. Trespass

    Trespass AEADGBEA

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    You guys have the same discussion with metal tone. I don't see the problem here.

    Let's take the same process that we use to evaluate metal tone. Record what you think is a "jazz tone" and place it in a mix. If it sits well, doesn't dominate other instruments, isn't muddy, and has character than your fine.

    I speak from experience. Guitar players, especially early jazz guitar players, step all over everyone elses toes volume and tone wise.


    Berklee has a reputation for being THE jazz school, one of the only places to get an education in jazz from an institution back in the 70s. I'm going to assume they would provide a decent amp.

    I didn't say to buy a new guitar, ALTHOUGH I would highly recommend renting a high end Eastman and getting familiar with it for the sake of the audition. Having an appropriate instrument for your genre demonstrates you take the art seriously. It's the same thing for string players, horn players etc. auditioning.

    If you were going to audition to get into a prestigious metal band, would you show up with a Squire and a Fender Princeton?
    That's a pretty straight analogy.
     
  7. Enselmis

    Enselmis SS.org Regular

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    Kent Armstrong makes pickups, good try though.

    With the amount of auditions Berklee probably gets I would do everything in my power to stand out from the crowd. That being said, I wouldn't call Berkless THE jazz school anymore. There are other great places to get a jazz education, Humber in Toronto for example.
     
  8. Trespass

    Trespass AEADGBEA

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    Pretty much every music program in major universities has either a jazz contingent, specialty or dedicated jazz degree.

    The wording was poor above. Berklee is by no means the only jazz school around, but it is still responsible for a lot of heavy players.

    Even most recently, Hiromi Uehara, Lionel Loueke, Stephane Wrembel, Julian Lage, Tony Grey - all within the last 10 years.
     
  9. Sam MJ

    Sam MJ Tries to be helpful

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    I'm not quite sure what your saying here, In my first comment I explained not to turn it down all the way, i'm not talking about drastically changing the tone, just removing some of the high end by tweaking it a bit, a tone knob after all is just a low pass filter.
    A tone knob isn't an on/off switch.

    What is the difference inbetween using a tone knob and using bassier pickups?
     
  10. ShreddingDragon

    ShreddingDragon Silence the discord

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    If I could make it sound killer, yes. (But I couldn't. :p)

    Sure it feels a little stupid if someone comes in to play serious jazz with a cheap, crappy gloss black 7-string instead of one of those actual jazz guitars. So having one is going to give you maybe that tiny 1% more in the eyes of the observers.

    But here's a true story: my friend was applying for the same conservatory I was in, a year after me. I was a little worried about the impression he was going to be giving, since he was going to play Armando's Rhumba on bass, with only a metronome to back him up. I thought maybe having a great and elaborate backing track would help give a more prepared, researched, devoted image to the teachers (whereas only a metronome would say "I couldn't find any backing track"). Wrong. He just played it, fucking nailed every section, got into school, end of story. The teachers told me none of that extra matters one bit, just play well. Of course, this was in Finland and not in Berklee... but I think it makes perfect sense.

    Which song(s) are you going to play btw?
     
  11. Francis978

    Francis978 SS.org Regular

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    I took Georgia on my mind and arranged it so the vocals bass and other parts can be played on one guitar. I don't have much money to be buying a new guitar rig, so I am trying to use what I have and make it more presentable, like using flatwounds and having jazz pickups and whatnot. Although a friend might let me borrow his hollow body.

    A second song I may be writing a wacky chord solo, or play a progressive song to show versatility


    So anyone able to help with good amp settings? I guess my question is on guitar, how do you make a jazz tone? I know it is warm, but I want to hear opinions so I can find my sound :D
     
  12. Sam MJ

    Sam MJ Tries to be helpful

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    Twiddle knobs untill it sounds good :D, We can't give you settings because we know nothing about what amp you use/what it sounds like and even then tone is a personal thing! try setting your eq to 12o clock and then think about what it sounds like and what you want it to sound like and tweak from there :).
     
  13. phaeded0ut

    phaeded0ut droooooneeeeeeeee!

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    From the PRS site, it looks like this name model could possibly sound like a middle ground between a Gibson SG and Gibson Les Paul with simplified volume and tone controls on the guitar itself, when it is run clean and the various tonal and volume controls are set appropriately. Unless the pickups are designed around more readily distorting (I don't know their pickups well enough to give you an informed opinion) you will want to keep things clean and this may mean dialing things down on your amplifier or theirs, should they provide one.

    Took a peek on Youtube at a little Opeth, and I didn't find any videos that didn't include distortion. This said, setting the master volume on the guitar, and then all of the tone controls on the guitar and amplifier for middle of the road and then dial back or up (start with giving yourself a bit more treble and then a touch of midrange) is advice I would also give for this audition, especially if they don't have you using your own equipment.

    Call ahead and ask questions, or look up the information on the professor's web site within the school, or a personal one if you can suss it out between the school and Google.

    Going back to a pickup end of things, I've been really happy with the Seymour Duncan SH-2 and SH-4 combination (my Schecter A-7 uses OEM versions of both pickups and it is, outside of the appearance a great sounding Jazz guitar). As to purchasing more gear, it will depend upon the gig or in this case, gigs and what your professor has lined up for his curriculum. Maybe a Steinberger GM or GL (clone) or a Stratocaster (clone) in conservative colors might be more in order? ;)
     
  14. MartinMTL

    MartinMTL SS.org Regular

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    You should get a bit more acquainted with Opeth then. They use clean tones all the time. (ex: the whole Damnation album). OP, I'm sure the PRS is able to give a at least a decent jazz tone with enough tweaking.
     
  15. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Is anyone gonna fuckin help the guy?

    I agree that some slight tweaks with the amp and tone knob may help. Will you be laying as part of a group for your audition?
     
  16. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    He approves of the latter. :lol:
     
  17. Francis978

    Francis978 SS.org Regular

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    My PRS gets a nice jazz tone, I just wanna see if any replacement would make it killer. Like putting a duncan jazz in the neck or using some flatwounds, a good balance of warm bass and treble not too bright but can cut through well enough is what I want in my tone, a nice jazz sound, like charlie hunter! Look up the charlie hunter trio playing come as you are, his tone is sweet! I just wanna hear opinions on how slight tweaking could get ne there by just nudging me in the right direction
     
  18. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Well I don't have any experience playing the pickups you mentioned. Do you use a pick? Playing w your fingers sounds warmer too.
     
  19. Francis978

    Francis978 SS.org Regular

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    Depends, soloing I use a pick, chord stuff I use my fingers only
     
  20. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd Dread-I Master Contributor

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    Well try this... Try playing a phrase with your fingers and see if that tone is close to what you're going for. Maybe softer picks? (Not counting new pups out, there are just a lot of things you can try before spending the $)
     

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